March Newsletter – Rwanda
Dear friends: this newsletter exists to help tell the story of the kingdom breaking through in Kigali, Rwanda. It strives to tell people stories. When Ginny and I received Val’s email we turned the TV off and I read out loud the story of the earthquake and then the story of the names. Feels like Pentecost. R. Hodder.
A Word from Val Finnerty
How many people do you know who begin their day with an earthquake? Just as we were getting ready for church the ceiling lights in the living room started to shake. For a split second we thought it was a passing lorry but then the whole house started to shake. We ran outside and stood there not quite knowing what was happening for a couple of minutes until things settled down. We heard later that the same earthquake had killed 30 people in Changugu when a church building collapsed. Brendan was quite scared and needed a lot of reassurance tonight before he’d go to sleep.
The morning did improve though and church was sweet. There was a fair bit of Holy Spirit activity during worship and some were trembling under the power of God. One of the women who was affected shared her God story later of how she had been desperately ill with malaria for over a week. Her husband is in prison and she has four small children. They had run out of food and she was crying out to God for a miracle when a man suddenly showed up at her door. He had owed her money for a very long time and she had pretty much forgotten about it. He arrived with all the money he owed her so she was able to get treatment and food. She really saw the hand of God in this timing.
Pat preached on “where God has brought us from, where we are and where we’re going.” We asked for a representative from each of the 8 meetings to get a stone from outside the building and bring it in. We then asked that they share one thing that God has done in their meeting that they want to remember and place their stones together on the floor.
What blessed me so much was to see how people are developing a Voice. It’s hard to explain just how wonderful it is to hear people telling their stories and believing that what they have to say is important. It’s just huge!!! So anyway, each representative shared what they felt was important and this is a summary of what they said. Each group has given themselves a name.
“Waiting for God”- many people have come out of sin; drinking, prison, drugs. Waiting for God to deliver and set free.
“Grace”- understanding free salvation not by works. Life changing.
” The saved ones”- God brought people from many different places. Now in love with God and each other. Praying for each other regularly.
” Philadelphia”- People used to stay at home and have individual lives and now they want to come together. They have a desire to be together.
“Moriah”- Identify with Abraham offering his son. They wanted to give God a sacrifice but found themselves with nothing to give but themselves. They offered that on the “mountain” and felt the overwhelming love of God.
“Friends of Christ”- They are the upcoming leaders discipleship meeting that Pat teaches every Sunday morning. They felt they were building the Jesus way.
Church was a very powerful time of seeing what God has done in a relatively short space of time. Antoine talked about the businesses that the meetings are doing; two groups are digging two hectares for a Farming God’s Way project. They are going for training tomorrow. Two groups are making baskets and a group is saving to start a welding business. Women are going to be trained to teach Sunday school, literacy classes have started and we have built a volleyball court on the side of the building for the youth to use. Everyone was very encouraged and there was a very enthusiatic time of praise. We then drove about 15 people home!!!
ps. We just had a sms message that a larger earthquake is likely to hit tonight and we should be prepared not to be harmed???!!! I guess that means have flashlights and keys ready to get out of the house quickly although just spoke to someone who said they’re going to go outside from 10-2. So pray for us, it could be an interesting night.
Bless you, love Val
A Word from Larry Levy: Pastor Halifax Vineyard
Hello friends of “Linking Arms With Rwanda”. Some of you know the exciting news that the Kigali Vineyard is in the process of buying the land that they presently meet on for their Sunday gatherings. The owner has to sell the land, and gave them the first option to buy, which will enable them to continue to minister in the present community and possibly construct another building at a later time. The price of the land with taxes and fees is $8000. We have decided to partner with this young church plant in this adventure and to this date we have raised $4500 with gifts coming from various churches and individuals. If you would like to help out with this venture, you may contact me with your intentions at firstname.lastname@example.org and write any checks or money orders to Halifax Metro Vineyard re Rwandan Land Purchase at 1129 Sackville Dr. Lr. Sackville NS Canada B4E 3C8 May the peace and joy of Christ continue to fill this wonderful partnership! Larry
A message of prayer from Mike and Becky Main- prayer support
I want to encourage us all to keep up the prayers. Remember Monday
fasts, for those who are willing. I believe that progress in Kigali is
significantly linked to our faithfulness to keep pressing in in prayer.
God is answering requests we have been making:
1. God has been pleased to show up at the Kigali Vineyard church
gatherings. God’s real presence is at the heart of being a Kingdom
movement. Praise Him! There will be ‘touch-stone’ times for many young
believers. Let’s keep praying for more, more, more for that body.
2. It seems that the Finnertys will be moving to a new place at less
than half current rent, starting April. God can answer financial needs
by increasing income or lowering expenses, or both! Lets pray that it
will all work out without hastles, and that the new home will be a
blessing. Also pray for a positive relationship with the landlord.
Some further prayer reminders:
3. Remember the need for increased finances, for Pat and Val, and for
4. Continue to hold up the family for health. I hear that Joel is
needing dental surgery, and that he will be staying in Kenya through the
‘break’, which I presume means a March break or so. Pray that whatever
Joel needs will come out perfectly, and continued help for Val’s health.
At the last Rwanda prayer meeting, I think, someone had the idea that
perhaps God may use the local church there to impart healing. That would
be cool too!
5. A group from St. Louis Vineyard are planning a mission trip to
Kigali. (I’m not sure the timing, but Sheryl or someone will let us
know…) Please pray that this will be a fruitful time, and that
positive partnerships will develop. Also pray for the Finnertys and
church members during these times – hosting is a tonne of work, and can
carry a lot of expense besides, since we westerners need extra stuff and
6. There are hopes for some regional Vineyard events (I think regional
means Rwanda, Burundi, and east Congo) this year. Pray for wisdom in
planning these, and open doors for those whom God would have teach and
7. Continue to pray for Kenya. Check out BBC online news for reports on
8. I strongly sense that over all of this we need to pray spiritual,
physical and emotional protection. It is through many struggles that we
see the Kingdom of God come, and progress rarely comes without attacks.
I have nothing too specific here, just a sense that our continued
praying is vital. Val reported that they felt the tremors of a nearby
earthquake the other day. This reminds me that things do get shaken from
time to time. We want the Finnertys and all the Kigali church to be
strong in Jesus.
God bless you all!
If you would like to support the efforts in Rwanda please contact our sending leader, Sheryl Darrow at email@example.com . If you are a donor and have questions or concerns please contact Sheryl as well. She or her team would be happy to help in any way they can. Finally, if there is anything you would like to see in this newsletter in the coming months, please let me know firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you have visited the Finnertys (they have had a number of visits this year alone), then we would love to hear your story (send it to the above address) and we would love to share it. God bless you and look for the next newsletter in early March.
Special Note: three members of our fellowship will be traveling to Kigali in March. Izzy Dempsey has agreed to journal her preparation to leave wintry Halifax and travel with her brother and mom to the church plant in Rwanda. Izzy’s entries should prove invaluable for any youth thinking of traveling abroad to serve God in the emerging kingdom.